The next time you want to replace part of your privacy fence be prepared for more city oversight and stricter regulations.An extensive amendment to the city zoning ordinance, which took effect last month, creates quality standards for wood-fence construction and materials such as fence panels and posts. It also requires a city permit to replace more than half of a fence.These and other requirements apply to fences that are taller than five feet. The previous regulations were much fewer and applied only to fences taller than 6 feet, which exempted most fences in Mansfield, said Planning Director Felix Wong.The cost for a permit is $10, the same as was charged previously for over-six-foot fences. Officials, who studied other cities' fence ordinances in their research, said raising fence standards is an aesthetics measure that they believe most residents will support."As you come down Matlock from South Arlington, there are a lot of fences that are in disrepair," Mayor David Cook said. "It's definitely something that will beautify the city and make it more attractive to visitors, and our own citizens."Terry Moore, a Mansfield school board member and the only resident who spoke at council hearings on the ordinance, said the "mish-mash" of fencing on some streets was not only an issue of appearance but also of safety. He said loose fence planks and panels are especially vulnerable -- and lethal -- in high winds."When the tornado came through Mansfield, we saw a lot of fence panels flying through the air as we were driving down Country Club," Moore said last week, referring to the storm of May 2001. "Everyone's got to take good care of their fences."Wong said the amendment is the first update of fence standards in more than 10 years. He said that previously, there were almost no construction standards for residential fencing, and that most requirements involved making sure fences didn't extend past property lines or into city right of way.The city has separate, higher standards for developers of housing subdivisions, requiring developers to build brick walls along streets of four lanes or more, and brick columns with wooden planks along two- or three-lane streets. Most of those requirements were implemented in the late 1990s, Wong said.But he said many contractors have been building to higher standards already, "because it's a good practice.""Better fencing lasts longer and helps maintain property values without people having a lot of extra work to do or extra expenses," Wong said.Although the amendment passed with a 6-0 vote at its final reading Dec. 10, some issues were raised during council discussions."A lot of citizens are going to look at this as a lot of intrusion," Councilman Darryl Haynes told Wong at the meeting. "It just seems weird to me."Mayor Pro Tem Larry Broseh asked Wong if additional staff would have to be hired to enforce the new provisions. Wong said he didn't think it would be necessary.Wong also said he's working with new software that soon will make fence permits and all other city permits available online.Included in the fence-construction amendment:A city permit is required before replacing more than 50 percent of a fence taller than five feet.For fences taller than six feet, a city permit is required regardless of how much of a fence will be replaced.Fence planks or panels have to be at least 5/8-inch thick.Posts must be galvanized steel and 2-3/8 inches in diameter.Posts must be set in concrete that is 24 inches deep for six-foot fences and 36 inches for eight-foot fences.Fences have to allow a one-inch gap between the ground and the bottom of the planks to help prevent decay.All materials must be securely fastened.Fences should be designed such that they won't cause drainage problems.